UFASK

How to Find a Safe Alternative to a Mask if You Don’t Have One 2022

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COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, can spread through water droplets when you cough, speak, or breathe. As of July 2020, the WHO has recommended that all people wear a fabric face mask if you cannot stay 1 m (3.3 ft) away from other people and there is widespread transmission in your area.Trustworthy SourceWorld Health OrganizationHealth information and news provided by the World Health OrganizationGo to source However, in some areas, masks are in short supply, and it isn't always easy to find one when you need it. Making your own cloth mask covering is the best defense against spreading COVID-19, and you can do so easily with just a few materials you may already have in your home.

Steps

Method 1 of 3:Making Your Own Mask

1Fold a bandana and add hair ties for a no-sew mask option. Fold a bandana in half lengthwise, then fold it in half lengthwise again. Slide 2 rubber bands or hair ties over the bandana, then move them until they sit about 6 inches (15 cm) apart from each other. Fold the ends of the bandana over the hair ties or rubber bands, then place the hair ties over your ears to secure the bandana over your nose and mouth.Trustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source

Make sure your mask fits snugly over your mouth and that you don't have any gaps beneath your chin or above your nose.

2Cut the bottom off a thick shirt if you don't have a bandana. For a different no-sew face mask option, cut a 7 in (18 cm) strip from the bottom of a thick cotton T-shirt. Fold the rectangle in half twice lengthwise to make a long, skinny rectangle, then slide 2 rubber bands or hair ties over the ends of the rectangle. Position the rubber bands or hair ties so that they're about 6 inches (15 cm) apart from each other. Fold the edges over the hair ties, then use the hair ties to secure the mask over your ears, covering your mouth and nose.

Make sure you fold the shirt over itself twice so you have enough layers of fabric to trap in the water droplets that you breathe out.

3Sew a mask using 2 layers of fabric if you have a sewing machine. To sew a medical mask out of cloth, find a free pattern online and cut out your pieces from thick, cotton fabric. Double up the layers and sew them together, then sew in 2 elastic bands on the sides for ear loops.Trustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source

Make sure this mask fits snugly over your mouth and nose without any gaps around your chin or cheeks.

For a free mask pattern supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html.

Method 2 of 3:Using a Mask Safely

1Put your mask on and take it off by holding the ear loops. To avoid contaminating yourself or others, pick up your mask by the hair ties or elastic, then loop it around your ears. To take off your mask, pull off one ear loop, then the other, without touching the cloth center of the mask, since that is where water droplets get trapped as you breathe and talk.Trustworthy SourceWorld Health OrganizationHealth information and news provided by the World Health OrganizationGo to source

Touching the front of the mask can contaminate your hands with germs, so it's best to avoid touching it at all times.

After you take your mask off, wash your hands with soap and water.

2Wash your mask in hot water after every use. Put your mask into a washing machine on the hot water cycle and add laundry detergent. Let the cycle complete, then set your mask out to air dry before you wear it again.Trustworthy SourceWorld Health OrganizationHealth information and news provided by the World Health OrganizationGo to source

If you plan to reuse your mask without washing it, put it in a sealed plastic bag until you want to wear it again.

3Wear a clear face covering if you are hard of hearing. Clear face coverings, or face shields, are large pieces of plastic that cover your entire face. Secure the strap around the top of your head and make sure that it's on tight. Ensure that the covering reaches from your forehead down to your chin for the fullest coverage.Trustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source

Clear face coverings are only recommended in the instance that you are hard of hearing and cannot communicate effectively with a mask covering your mouth.

Clear face shields do not control water droplets as effectively as cloth or medical masks do.

After every use, wipe down the inside and outside of your face shield with a household cleaner that contains bleach. Rinse it off, then let it air dry before you wear it again.

Method 3 of 3:Staying Safe Without a Mask

1Keep a distance of at least 1 m (3.3 ft) from other people. The best way to avoid the spread of COVID-19 is to socially distance yourself from others. When it's possible, you should stay away from other people and keep at least 6 feet (1.8 m) between you when you're out and about.Trustworthy SourceWorld Health OrganizationHealth information and news provided by the World Health OrganizationGo to source

The water droplets from speaking, coughing, and sneezing cannot travel very far, which is why you can stay healthy by keeping your distance.

2Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Any time you touch a public surface, wash your hands with soap and hot water. Scrub your fingers, palms, and underneath your nails for at least 20 seconds before you rinse your hands.Trustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source

If you don't have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands.

3Stay away from large groups and crowded areas. Large groups of people are more likely to spread COVID-19 because it's harder to socially distance. Try to avoid large crowds and small indoor areas, if you can.Trustworthy SourceWorld Health OrganizationHealth information and news provided by the World Health OrganizationGo to source

Bars, restaurants, and buildings with circulating air can all spread the virus very quickly, since enclosed spaces trap in the water droplets that people breathe out.

4Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. If you don't have a mask on and you have to cough or sneeze, make sure you press the inside of your elbow firmly against your nose and mouth to catch as many droplets as you can. If you have a tissue, use that to cover your nose and mouth instead. Make sure you throw it away right after you use it to avoid contamination. Trustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source

If you are wearing a mask and you have to cough or sneeze, leave the mask over your nose and mouth to catch any water droplets.

5Try not to touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. COVID-19 can spread from contaminated surfaces to your hands, which can infect you through your nose, mouth, or eyes. Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible, especially when you're out in public.Trustworthy SourceWorld Health OrganizationHealth information and news provided by the World Health OrganizationGo to source

The added bonus of a mask is that it covers half of your face so you can't touch it as much throughout the day.